Intermittent Fasting & Paleo Beef Stew
Let’s quickly digress from paleo beef stew for a second.
So I’ve had a couple questions on the topic of Intermittent Fasting…
…figured it’d be a great post for me to share (and it’s keeping me away from posting three half-posts written out of rage regarding people trying to convince me to buy crappy products and then judging me for MY choices … let me live my liiiiiife!)
Anyways … Intermittent Fasting (IF):
“IF is the practice of maintaining overall caloric intake while consuming those calories in fewer meals or in reduced time windows throughout the day. The goal is to create conditions of fasting in the body, but not for extreme lengths of time.” –Paleo for Women
Notes on IF
- 10, 8 or 5 hour eating windows, or two feed periods per day (usually morning and evening)
- Can benefit the fight against cancer(s), auto-immune disorders, and diabetes
- Helps with cravings, fatigue and weight gain
- Can reduce insulin resistance
- Natural and evolutionary
Personal experience trying out IF
(I want to first start off by saying, I’m a meal-eater. I don’t like or do shakes. I prefer entire meals rather than little snacks throughout the day.)
In researching IF, I kept an open mind and tried to find the positives and negatives before trying it out. More on that later …
The first week ….
(Goal: 8-hour eating window) Breakfast was eaten at between 10:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. And surprisingly, this wasn’t difficult. I did have some straight-black coffee and tons of eater leading up to this feeding. This helped tremendously. I’d eat lunch around 2-2:30 p.m. It was usually small because I wasn’t extremely hungry. Dinner was eaten before 7:30 p.m. This was hard. I work late some nights and I felt rushed to try to get home to have my food before then. The first week I held strong and committed to it.
I felt awesome. More so, my mind felt awesome. I felt like my cravings subsided, I felt proud of my choices. I slept like a champ, too.
The second week ….
Laid pretty similarly to week one. The weekends proved to be a little more challenging as I don’t often eat as consistently as I do during the week. Also, that 7:30 p.m. dinner time shifted to more of a 7:30-8 p.m. dinner window.
I was still riding the high from week one. I started to feel a little lighter, energy was consistent. The only negative was that I was stressing on keeping to the 8-hour window. My days seemed a little longer and I was pushing that last meal…
Third week ….
Is where it fell a part. With some work situations, hard workouts and trying to keep to the 8-hour window, I was stressed. My mind started feeling foggy, I was getting bouts of anxious feelings and was feeling tired and irritable.
What the hell happened to my feel goods?!
Stress reeks serious havoc.
Or so I learned.
During intermittent fasting, we’re technically low-grade starving our body to become accustomed to dealing with and strengthening these (and other) responses, it can be very demanding, and slightly stressful to our body’s normal functions.
Some can deal with this low-grade stress. Others can withstand it for a while, while others feel like their head is barely above water. KNOW which one you are.
In those whose body can’t deal with (another) added stressor, a few things can happen:
- A break in the fast, often time leading to unsatiated and/or binge eating
- Hormonal imbalances in women (we’re extremely sensitive to these signals of fasting/starvation)
- Having the blues, depression or anxious feelings
- Irregular menstruation
- Mental fog
Obviously I broke my fasting cycle because I had one or more of these negative feelings.
When you experience an unfavorable symptom that should be a good sign to either end the program or tweak it to achieve more favorable results.
I was bummed. I had such great results my first two weeks. Honestly, I didn’t want to end the fast. So I sought out alternatives…
After doing some digging, I found a more technical name for what I continued to do – Crescendo Intermittent Fasting (CIF).
Here are the details & what I’ve found to be successful when doing this type of fasting protocol:
(My) Prerequisites to starting CIF
- I’m in a stress-free environment and consciousness of the onset of stress
- Hormones balanced
- Cycling through high-intensity and passive workouts (ex.: CrossFit, yoga, rest days)
- Cycle fasting through non-consecutive days or 3 days on, two days off approach
- Increase feeding window: 10-15 hours
- Properly hydrated
- Sleep cycle normalized
- Removal of judgement/guilt/stress if program deviates slightly (or ends)
This will ensure a few things:
- Elimination of hormonal and/or physical burnout
- Elimination of chronic stress on the system
- More rest (more recovery)
- Increased energy and stamina
- All the lovely benefits of fasting (but not at an expense!)
Any time someone asks me if they should try it, I tell them to research it. To make sure they’re totally aware of their body and can and will listen to its responses. If you’re feeling tired, depleted or having symptoms that you didn’t normally have pre-fast, then end the program. Your body is simply not benefiting from it.
Here are some additional resources to see if CIF or IF may be for you:
- A Women’s Guide to Intermittent Fasting
- Shattering the Myth of Fasting for Women
- Intermittent Fasting – Marks Daily Apple
Leave some comments or question if you have them!
Ok, so are you ready for the best stew in the world?
It’s seriously amazing.
I have this issue with following recipes. I go legit rogue. But for good reason, whenever I try a lengthy recipe by-the-book, I usually hate it and it tastes like crap. So I add and remove the things I like and don’t like.
The problem? I never write it down. But, alas! This time I totally did … so you’re absolutely welcome.
Screw it. Stew. Here it is:
- 2 lbs. beef chuck ribs
- 3 large carrots
- 1 medium leek
- 1 yellow onion
- 2 sweet potatoes
- 1 package mushrooms
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 2 tbs balsamic vinegar
- 2 tbs coconut oil
- 2 tbs dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups beef broth
- Cut beef ribs into cubes, set aside
- Dice carrots into small chunks, set aside
- Cut off top and bottom of leek. Slice down the center and dice into half circles, set aside.
- Chop sweet potatoes into cubes, set aside
- Chop onion into small pieces, divide onion into half, set aside.
- In a medium-high skillet, place 1 tbs coconut oil
- Once oil is melted, place half the diced onions and the cubed beef into skillet.
- Brown on each side for about 5 minutes.
- Add pinch of salt.
- Slowly add in 2 smashed cloves of garlic, 2 tbs wine, 1 tbs balsamic vinegar and 1 tbs thyme to beef. Stir.
- Remove from heat and place into bottom of crock pot
- In the same skillet, add remaining coconut oil
- Place carrots, leeks, onions, sweet potatoes and mushrooms in skillet
- Add remaining smashed garlic. Stir.
- Add pinch of salt.
- Add remaining wine, vinegar and 1 tbs thyme to skillet. Stir to incorporate.
- Once leeks are translucent, transfer vegetables to crock pot.
- Once all vegetables and meat are placed in crockpot, pour 2 cups beef broth over top.
- Add remaining thyme and 2 bay leaves on top.
- Place lid on crockpot and cook for 4-5 hours until sweet potatoes and carrots are tender.